Health&Fitness Talk

Supporting Healthy Life Styles

Stay in shape with low impact exercise Stay in shape with low impact exercise
Low impact exercise by definition is exercise which involves minimal striking of a body part against a hard surface. Low impact exercise is... Stay in shape with low impact exercise

by Kimberly Allen R.N.

Low impact exercise by definition is exercise which involves minimal striking of a body part against a hard surface.  Low impact exercise is not just for seniors or “mall walkers.” there are numerous low impact exercises in every exercise category know to exist.

Low impact exercise is recommended for anyone who has problems with their joints.

The problem with “low impact exercise” is it’s image and the lack of knowledge about just what and how many exercises are actually considered low impact.  Also, low impact does not mean “low intensity.”  Many low impact exercises are high intensity exercises.  There is research that indicates low impact exercise to be just as effective as high impact exercise.

Low impact exercise has numerous advantages including less injury to the joints. It also increases flexibility and strength levels.  Since there is significantly less stress placed on the joints, you are much less likely to suffer from an injury like a sprain or torn cartilage.

There are many reasons to choose low impact exercise instead of high impact.  If you have a history of joint or cartilage injuries or chronic disease like arthritis or other bone disorders, you should consider low impact exercise.  People that are over weight or new to exercise should always start with a low impact exercise program in order to avoid injury to the joints.  Many people decide they want to start an exercise program but don’t really put alot of thought into the process.  They’re excited, they’ve started their exercise program and feel better, then a few days later they’re so sore they can’t move and quickly get discouraged and the exercise program soon falls to the side.  Everyone needs to exercise to maintain mobility and a lealthy lifestyle.

The most significant overall benefits of low impact exercise are:
1.  Improved cardiovascular health.  research has shown that low impact exercises like swimming or biking are some of the best ways to treat and prevent cardiovascular disease.
2.  Decreased joint damage.  This is one of the biggest reasons people choose to participate in low impact exercise programs because there’s something for everyone from the senior citizen to the couch potato.
3.  Weight loss.  Low impact exercise is a great way to lose weight and not feel like giving up.  Many over weight people don’t exercise because they think they have to run or jog to get any benefit.

There are numerous activities that are considered low impact exercises.  Yoga and Tai Chi are very popular low impact exercises that improve flexibility  and strengthen and tones muscle.  However, Yoga isn’t for everyone, many prefer a more intense work out like swimming, cycling or maybe rowing.  Whatever the exercise you choose always start slow and increase the duration and intensity over time.  Remember muscle tissue burns more calories than fat so as long as you build and strengthen your muscles you’ll burn more calories and improve your overall health.

As with any exercise program always consult your doctor before starting.

Kimberly Allen is a registered nurse with an AND in nursing. She has worked in ACF, LCF and psychiatric facilities, although she spent most of her career as a home health expert. She is now a regular contributor to, dispensing advice and knowledge about medical issues and questions. You can reach her with any comments or questions at